Aussies on the Move: Surge in Housing Relocations Triggered by Cost-of-Living Crisis

A growing number of Australians are uprooting their lives in response to the cost-of-living crisis, seeking financial relief through relocation.

Economic uncertainty has become a key factor in at least one third of relocations this year, highlighting a significant shift in priorities, according to national online removalist booking platform Muval.

The 2023 Muval Index revealed money has emerged as the primary motivator behind moves, with 35% of relocations in 2023 aimed at reducing the cost of living—an impressive three-fold increase from the previous year’s 11%.

Contrary to the trends observed in 2022, where upgrading homes took precedence (30% in 2022 compared to 16% in 2023), affordability now dominates the decision-making process for movers.

A growing number of Australians are uprooting their lives in response to the cost-of-living crisis, seeking financial relief through relocation. Credit: supplied.
A growing number of Australians are uprooting their lives in response to the cost-of-living crisis, seeking financial relief through relocation. Credit: supplied.

In addition to cost-of-living considerations, work-related motives accounted for 29% of relocations, with 57% of these moves being financially driven. Economic factors such as seeking more affordable housing (14%) or a cheaper lifestyle (12%) also played a significant role in Australians’ decisions to relocate.

Rising rents and interest rates have triggered an unprecedented number of moves, nearly double the average. Over the past 12 months, 18% of survey respondents moved due to increased rent or interest rates, indicating the profound impact of housing cost escalations.

Young Australians, particularly those aged 18-24, bore the brunt of rent hikes, with 22% forced to move. Victorians experienced the highest impact, with 13% moving due to rent increases and 10% due to rising rates—double the rates observed in other major states.

While the majority (64%) of cost-driven moves occurred within the same city, 22% had to relocate to another city, and 9% crossed state borders. Notably, 16% of Australians resorted to moving in with family or friends to cope with housing affordability issues, with 60% of these individuals aged 18 to 34.

It comes after a recent survey by comparison website Finder found at least 15% of Australians, equivalent to 3 million people, have resorted to obtaining a credit card in the past 12 months.

Looking ahead to 2024, reducing the cost of living remains the top New Year’s resolution for Australians (16%), followed by pursuing a better lifestyle (15%) and seeking more affordable housing (10%).

As the cost-of-living crisis continues, Muval CEO James Morrell underscores the significant shift in Australians’ outlook over the past year.

Moving has become a critical strategy for those seeking more affordable options and grappling with the rising cost of living. Morrell said, “The 2023 Muval Index shows how much inflationary pressures have changed Australians’ outlook in the space of a year, and what they are having to do to keep a roof over their head.”

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